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Old Style Computing in Starbucks
April 8, 2005 11:56 PM   Subscribe

Man brings entire desktop computer into a Starbucks and sets it up.
I took these pictures tonight of this guy who appears to have lugged his whole computer system into the Starbucks on 41st and Madison. I don't see any coffee anywhere either... After much speculation about the person, Stephanie and Chris interview him.
posted by KevinSkomsvold (32 comments total)

 
From one of the comments in the second link:

I'm not going to get all involved in the social implications of Corey, but I can verify most of the facts in the original article & give you a little update on Corey.

I am actually the Manager of the Starbucks where Corey was living for the last couple weeks. He came in one day with a desktop computer & a full sized monitor. He picked up some wi-fi signal & started doing whatever it is he did all day (mostly chatting from what I saw).

We don't throw people out unless they are being offensive or bothering other guests. On Madison Ave quite a few of our guests are a bit uptight & some of them made comments about him, but Corey was always polite, respectful & charming. He was smart & well spoken & confident. People sat with him all the time while he helped them with computer problems or just talked. Apparently, some of them gave him money, though I never saw him ask for it. At the end of the night, we gave him (& a few other homeless people) leftover food that we otherwise would've thrown away.

On Sunday Corey told us someone had bought him a bus ticket somewhere. It may have been Upstate. I had talked to him about leaving the City to go somewhere easier & I hope he found somewhere like that.

In the afternoon he packed up his shopping cart & headed out. We haven't seen or heard from him since.

I don't know what will happen to him, but I hope he does well. He's obviously got a lot of skill & talent. I hope he decides what will make him a whole person & give him fulfillment & that he eventually figures out how to get it.

Good luck Corey!
posted by TheIrreverend at 12:49 AM on April 9, 2005


That is one of the strangest stories I have ever read.

"You can have money man, but buy food not more RAM!"
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:54 AM on April 9, 2005


I was struck by the comment the poor live in the present. I'm out of work, but I have a place to live and things to do to earn it, so I'm not in his position -- but I do identify. If we're lucky, we'll hear from him somehow now that he's relocated.

As an update, The Homeless Guy (MeFi -> Salon -> NPR, etc.) just got an apartment.
posted by dhartung at 1:33 AM on April 9, 2005


I do fear playing too much counterstrike may land me in a similar situation
posted by 13twelve at 1:35 AM on April 9, 2005


lol i have a friend who works there
posted by reflection at 2:11 AM on April 9, 2005


This is definitely a double post - I can't find it but am absolutely sure I read it here in the last couple of weeks.
posted by peacay at 3:17 AM on April 9, 2005


I think it was linked by BoingBoing, among other places.
posted by fixedgear at 3:44 AM on April 9, 2005


I was struck by the comment the poor live in the present.

Me too. Emotional Intelligence is a buzzphrase that has been ridiculed much of late, but I am convinced that it is more of a determinant of success (as defined by oneself, not by others) than anything else. As I understand it, EI is basically the ability to reflect upon one's own temperament and change it. I pity this boy, for he clearly lacks it.
posted by randomstriker at 3:59 AM on April 9, 2005


loser!
posted by Dean Keaton at 4:19 AM on April 9, 2005


a wonderful blog piece. and thanks for that perspective, TheIrreverend.
posted by Marquis at 4:20 AM on April 9, 2005


This is a good example of how the web lets stories be told, that would not have a place otherwise.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 4:58 AM on April 9, 2005


Heh, he admits to frequenting Starbucks. He's crazier than that desktop dude.
posted by fleener at 6:16 AM on April 9, 2005


We don't throw people out unless they are being offensive or bothering other guests.

I brought a six pack and a hooker into a Starbucks recently. I didn't bother anyone but they weren't so congenial where I was concerned. Bastards!
posted by j.p. Hung at 7:14 AM on April 9, 2005


TheIrreverend, Nice post. I've never been to a Starbucks and am down on large businesses in general but your thoughts and actions here make me smile. Am I to understand that Starbucks trusts you to use own judgement about such matters? Wow! Very novel. Also, if you don't mind me asking, do they have a drug testing policy for employees?
posted by a_day_late at 7:17 AM on April 9, 2005


I saw a guy bring his own coffee and mug into starbucks once. It was that General Foods International coffee, perhaps he had moment he wanted to celebrate in his life. But the staff seemed to know him, and he was big, ornery and a little crazy-looking, so they greeted him and let him do what he wanted.
posted by jonmc at 7:17 AM on April 9, 2005


Emotional Intelligence is a buzzphrase that has been ridiculed much of late, but I am convinced that it is more of a determinant of success (as defined by oneself, not by others) than anything else. As I understand it, EI is basically the ability to reflect upon one's own temperament and change it. I pity this boy, for he clearly lacks it.

Thanks Dr. Phil. He was described as personable and charming, so I think it's probably something else.
posted by Mach3avelli at 7:23 AM on April 9, 2005


i thought the poor live in the present comment was condescending. it describes what it's like to be poor, but the person who posted it then criticised someone for making short term decisions without realising that when you're poor that's all you can do. long term planning is a luxury, not something middle class people just happen to be smart enough to do and poor people so stupid they don't.

disclaimer - i've never been poor, but i now live in a country where the average wage is something i'd find hard to get by on, and where many of the people i know are extremely poor by the standards of most people posting to mefi, i would guess.
posted by andrew cooke at 7:58 AM on April 9, 2005


Has NO ONE noticed that this whole shebang was posted on the blog on the 1st of APRIL?

Do keep up at the back, MeFi! :)
posted by metaxa at 8:30 AM on April 9, 2005


I don't see what's wrong with it, other than that's an awful lot to carry around even in a shopping cart. Like it or not, and I get the impression most Mefites won't, some people ain't don't have laptops and can't afford one. Instead of typing "Loser!", O overprivileged one, why not donate one of your obsolete laptops to the next person you see doing that? Personally I think a 800 megahertz chip and 128 megs of RAM would be fine for whatever you'd do in a coffeehouse -- I gather that'd be a laptop like the average Mefite was using in 2001.

And "yes" to what andrew cooke said.

I salute the TheIrreverend for letting him do that; I especially like it that you kept on letting him do it even after some uptight customers complained. People like you might change my opinion of Starbucks.
posted by davy at 9:23 AM on April 9, 2005


Do keep up at the back, MeFi! :)
The April fools’ angle was posted in the thread’s comments. The follow up post tells the full story. Do keep reading!:)
posted by thomcatspike at 9:27 AM on April 9, 2005


Instead of typing "Loser!",
Without spoiling the story's happy ending; he is homeless and trying to find a date for his upcoming 21st birthday. (Lately, I have posted several similar comments because no one reads the thread or reads too much into the comments)
posted by thomcatspike at 9:33 AM on April 9, 2005


I worked at a public library with a similar character, except he lived in his car and we don't offer free wi-fi. Since the library computers have a one hour limit, anyone is free to set up their own computer (most bring laptops), but we don't offer internet hook-ups. He also sexually harassed the staff and eventually decided he was unwelcome or had better opportunities elsewhere and moved on.
posted by GlitterBum at 9:57 AM on April 9, 2005


TheIrreverend, Nice post.
Kevin deserves the credit.

I salute the TheIrreverend for letting him do that...
I am not the manager, I was just quoting the manager (and poorly I guess)

posted by TheIrreverend at 10:42 AM on April 9, 2005


I assumed this was an April Fool's joke too. You mean this is for real?
posted by keswick at 11:07 AM on April 9, 2005


interesting. bizarre. that is a strange and damaged kid.
posted by blacklite at 11:08 AM on April 9, 2005


I assumed this was an April Fool's joke too. You mean this is for real?

Good question Keswick. The original post was on May 30th so I'm not sure if it was posted in preparation for April Fools or if this is for real. I emailed Chris to find out, FWIW.

Thanks Irreverend
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:41 AM on April 9, 2005


I used to work graveyard shift at a copy shop in downtown Portland, OR and we had a couple regulars. Eventually word gets out to the higher-ups or someone is eventually perceived as a nuissance by a staff member or complaining customer and the game is up. Most of our homeless visitors were pretty lonely and would be really nice when given half a chance. One kid would come in with his nickels and dimes and we'd make bills for him until we were told not too.

During the daytime, we had one wifi geek who would come in and play FPSes all day on his laptop and then his girlfriend would show up and complain that they didn't have any money and then she'd plop a laptop down and start gaming away herself. Sometimes he'd use his wannabe l33t skills to help a customer, but they eventually got 86'd for making too many messes. When I stopped in a store in Seattle, I saw another cozy customer playing FPSes in a laptop station, too, so it seems to be pretty common. More power to them, I say, but I'm bitter and cynical from having one too many dumbass customers bitch about their last-minute wedding invitations.
posted by Skwirl at 12:38 PM on April 9, 2005


I was just quoting the manager (and poorly I guess)

It was crystal clear to me.
posted by Kwantsar at 4:17 PM on April 9, 2005


In 1987 I had a really tough week in Portland when I was essentially homeless. First I stayed in the cheapest motel in Portland (I believe the weekly rate was about $75). It was right next to Union, and my neighbors were hookers who rented the adjacent rooms by the hour. When my money ran out I slept in my car...it was an '84 Nisan Pulsar, and you could fold the rear seat down so you could sleep in it (my legs would go in the trunk). I managed to get it together and find a job when I was down to eating bread and mustard -- I'd bought a big package of turkey and cheese, but those had run out. To this day I can't bring myself to eat Dijon mustard.

That experience taught me that: 1. Most of us are one paycheck away from being homeless. 2. Employers will hire you even if you don't have an address (I did have a mailing address) and they know you're homeless, as long as you come across clean, dependable, and eager to work. 3. Not to ever take a boring broke night at home for granted.
posted by Devils Slide at 5:15 PM on April 9, 2005


Uh, TheIrreverend, I see I missed something:

From one of the comments in the second link:

Looks like a failure of reading comprehension to me. And it annoys me every bit as much when I found I've done it. So I stand corrected yet again. (I'm gettin' used to that position too, dammitall.)

So it's this guy Kevin who might change my opinion of Starbucks, as certain people in this thread may raise my general opinion of Mefites in general. (Slightly.)

And thomcatspike, this Internets thingy IS a great way to get laid. It's been my source of "partners" for 10 years. The quality's better than what I'd been scarfing up in the usual "real-world" places too.
posted by davy at 9:46 PM on April 9, 2005


I emailed Chris, the author of the story re: April Fools joke? Here is his response (I only clipped his email address).

This story is totally real. No April Fool's joke. I hate that shit. He recently emailed me that he used some of my money to buy a ticket to Watertown, NY to be with a girl. I wish him luck.

A lot of people thought this was fake. Anyone who works in the area knows it's real.


I know with all the tomfoolery that goes on on the web during April Fools, it would be easy to see this as yet another "stunt". I had/have no reason to believe it's fake.

I hope Cory finds what he needs and then some.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:00 PM on April 9, 2005


davy
this Internets thingy IS a great way to get laid.
Incase my comment was not clear. I was backing up your comment about "Losers", which was not to imply you too. Also a, very excellent to you. About your savvy skills using your computer tool for finding the living porn in the world.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:08 PM on April 14, 2005


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